Haw Par Villa is an 8.5 hectare Asian cultural park and the last of its kind in the world. Built in 1937, Singapore’s largest outdoor art gallery is the brainchild of Aw Boon Haw, the millionaire philanthropist and founder of Tiger Balm. The park is a treasure trove of Asian culture, history, philosophy and religion. Since 2015, it is managed by award-winning heritage specialist Journeys Pte Ltd, which has taken on the task of bringing back the park’s glory days.
The park has statues of armed monkeys, giant crabs with human faces and a range of other weird and wonderful statues. It also has a diorama of the “Ten Stages of Hell”. According to Chinese mythology, a soul passes through a series of courts before it can enter heaven – of course, punishment awaits those who are proven unworthy. Be warned, the depictions can be alarming though most visitors will find the displays both grotesque and hilarious, all at the same time.
Haw Par Villa re-open on 1 March 2019 and they have extended their operating hours to 22:00 (last entry at 21:30), so you can experience the terrors at night. Visitors will also get a preview of the upcoming tour called “Hell’s Museum”, which will probably showcase some gruesome “lift after death” sculptures and mythologies. Admission will remain free.